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2011 October 21

Robin Givhan Lands Book Deal

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Robin Givhan Robin Givhan
Patrick McMullan
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(NEW YORK) Pulitzer Prize-winning fashion critic and Newsweek/The Daily Beast style correspondent Robin Givhan has inked a deal with Penguin Press to pen a book about “Grand Divertissement à Versailles,” the supermodel-studded spectacle hatched by Eleanor Lambert in 1973 that pitted five American designers against five French stalwarts (think Dior, Givenchy, YSL) at the palace of Versailles. The coterie of five American designers, “a decidedly motley lot" consisting of Oscar de la Renta, Stephen Burrows, Halston, Anne Klein, and Bill Blass, used exclusively black models like Charlene Dash, Amina Warsuma, Billie Blair, Alva Chinn and Bethann Hardison for the lavishly-set walk-off.

According to Publishers Marketplace, Givhan’s book will be “an in-depth look at how the ‘Grand Divertissement a Versailles’ set a diverse group of American designers against the lions of French fashion in a seismic cultural event and turning point in the history of American fashion.” Givhan is also the author of Michelle: Her First Year as First Lady; she also contributed to Thirty Ways of Looking at Hillary: Reflections by Women Writers, Runway Madness, and No Sweat: Fashion, Free Trade and the Rights of Garment Workers. 

It’s apparently the year of remembering the ultimate catwalk showdown, which was attended by over 800 guests and subsequently covered “as if it had been a prize fight." In January, a duo of the event’s stateside design talents, de la Renta and Burrows, hosted a luncheon at the Met in honor of the 10 models who had participated in the pivotal show. Earlier this week, The Huffington Post’s “Game Changers Awards” included a nod to the Versailles 1973 models, with China Machado and Pat Cleveland in attendance, in their roster of mover-and-shaker accolades. 


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